NORWALK - Dr. Ruth Perez, superintendent of the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District since 2009, had her contract extended two years by the board of education Monday.Board members did not comment in their unanimous decision. The contract extension keeps Perez in Norwalk through June 30, 2016 at an annual salary of $205,000. Keeping Perez ensures stability at the school district, which has suffered more than $30 million in budget cuts over the last four years with more cuts coming. Still, despite major cuts to teachers and staff, Norwalk schools managed to significantly increase district API scores and 13 elementary schools received state or national honors. (API, or academic performance index, is the measurement the state uses to monitor school performance.) According to terms of the contract, Perez receives 30 days paid vacation and 18 sick days per year. Vacation time is cashed out at the end of each year at a per diem rate, while sick leave can be accrued. Perez receives the same health benefits as other district management employees, plus lifetime health coverage for her and her spouse if she stays as superintendent for 15 years. The school district also agreed to pay up to $1,000 annually for life insurance, and provided Perez with a cell phone and laptop computer for district-related business. Perez is required to take a biennial medical exam, paid for by the school district, with the exam's results filed with the school board president. Perez retains the right to work as an outside consultant, writer or lecturer provided it's done outside of regular working hours or during vacations or holidays. She can also join one local service club with membership dues paid for by the school district. The contract can be unilaterally terminated with 45 days notice, in which case Perez would receive 18 months salary plus benefits. Board members have the option of extending the deal an additional year before next June. Extending Perez's deal comes at the same time Downey Unified School District launches its search for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Wendy Doty, who retires next March.
********** Published: October 4, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 25